Tag: "Brian Williams"
Monday Memo: Happy NEWS Year? “Not likely,” consultant Holland Cooke predicts; adding “that spells opportunity…for now. THEN what?” In this week’s column, HC suggests how recent Chris Wallace and Brian Williams sign offs point to what might be “talk radio’s next format.” Read it here.
Pending Business: What You See Is What You Get. Radio sales pro Steve Lapa says that despite the significantly increased traffic on our roads as more people return to working away from home – which means more people listening to radio in their cars – radio sales pros may still have plenty of inventory to sell. He says it’s time to review four basic concepts that help any talk radio seller fill those avails. Read it here.
Audacy Renews Employment Agreements with CEO David Field and COO Susan Larkin. The company has entered into new employment agreements with president and CEO David J. Field and EVP and chief operating officer Susan Larkin. In a filing with the Securities Exchange Commission, Audacy reports that Field will continue to serve as the company’s president and CEO and becomes effective January 1, 2022. The Field agreement has an initial term of three years with automatic one year extensions following the initial term unless either party provides prior notice of non-extension. Field’s annual base salary will be $1,350,000 and a target annual performance bonus of up to 200% of Field’s base salary. Field is eligible to receive a one time “EBITDA Bonus” of $3,000,000 only if, prior to December 31, 2024, the company’s EBITDA for the immediately preceding consecutive 12-month period exceeds $400,000,000. Field is also entitled to an equity grant of 1,000,000 restricted stock units (“RSUs”), subject to the company’s shareholders’ approval of a new Company equity incentive plan at the 2022 annual shareholders meeting. Seventy five percent (75%) of these RSUs have performance-based vesting conditions while the remaining twenty five percent (25%) have time-based vesting conditions. Fields’ performance-based RSUs come after achieving company stock price increases. He receives 250,000 RSUs for hitting the stock price of $6.00; 250,000 for hitting $9.00 per share and 250,000 for reaching the $12.00 per share threshold. Audacy also retroactively amended EVP and COO Susan R. Larkin that increases her annual salary to $750,000 and applies retroactively from June 1, 2021 through May 4, 2023. Her agreement further amends the provision related to future equity grants so that Larkin will be entitled to an increased amount of future grants of restricted stock and/or stock options with an aggregate annual target amount of $500,000.
KBOI-AM, Boise to Add FM Signal. Effective January 3, 2022, Cumulus Media’s Boise news/talk KBOI-AM will have an FM simulcast as current sports talk KTIK-FM becomes KBOI-FM. The sports talker keeps its FM signal (a simulcast of KTIK-AM) on FM translator K237HA at 95.3 FM. In a statement, KBOI program director Nate Shelman says, “Being a part of any positive station launch or new venture is exciting. Our audience has asked for this over the years and it’s exciting to see KBOI return to the FM dial after KBOI-FM switched call signs to KQFC in 1985. The growth in the Treasure Valley and changes in technology have warranted the need for an FM outlet. Interference from powerlines being the most prevalent.”
KABQ-AM, Albuquerque to Flip to Sports Talk. Albuquerque talk station KABQ-AM is flipping to sports talk as “FOX Sports 1350 AM”, effective Monday, January 3. The iHeartMedia station will broadcast FOX Sports Radio programming around the clock on weekdays and weekends. “FOX Sports 1350 AM” will feature “Two Pros and a Cup of Joe with LaVar Arrington, Brady Quinn & Jonas Knox,” “The Dan Patrick Show,” “The Doug Gottlieb Show” “Straight Outta Vegas with R.J. Bell,” “The Odd Couple with Chris Broussard & Rob Parker,” “The Jason Smith Show with Mike Harmon” and “The Ben Maller Show.” iHeartMedia market president Hope Romero says, “We’re thrilled to be able to bring the sports talk leader back to Albuquerque. FOX Sports Radio leads the industry with the biggest names and best shows.”
Audacy Names Sarah Foss Chief Technology Officer. The company promotes Sarah Foss to chief technology officer, a role in which she’ll spearhead Audacy’s efforts to innovate and differentiate its products and services via new technological capabilities. The company says that Foss will manage Audacy’s key technology initiatives including: software development, ad tech, business intelligence and analytics, data solutions, and Audacy’s recently acquired live and on-demand audio streaming business, AmperWave. Foss had been serving as Audacy’s chief information officer since joining the company in 2020. Audacy CFO and EVP of strategic initiatives Rich Schmaeling comments, “Audacy continues to invest in technology to create innovative offerings for its listeners, advertisers and clients. We are excited to have Sarah leading these critical areas to drive our transformation faster and further.” Foss states, “Audacy is in the enviable position that we have unique content, great platforms, and an appetite for transformative growth. I am excited that technology is seen as an accelerant and differentiator for us at Audacy.”
Biden’s Build Back Better Plan/Economy, COVID-19, January 6 Investigation, Civil War Fears, Russian Ukraine Aggression, Kim Potter Trial, Ghislaine Maxwell Trial, and Spider Man Film Among Top News/Talk Stories Over the Weekend. Negotiations over Joe Biden’s Build Back Better plan between the White House and Senator Joe Manchin break down and the cooling predictions for the U.S. economy; the Omicron variant of the coronavirus, vaccines and mandates; the House investigation into the January 6 attack on the Capitol; retired U.S. generals warn of possible U.S. civil war; Russia’s military aggression toward the Ukraine; the trial of former police officer Kim Potter; the defense rests in the trail of Jeffrey Epstein associate Ghislaine Maxwell; and the new Spider Man movie’s blockbuster opening were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.
By Holland Cooke
BLOCK ISLAND, RI — Or is “happy” now unproductive? If Brett Baier hasn’t also fled FOX News by the time you read this, he must be feeling lonely there. He and Chris Wallace reportedly protested to management over Tucker Carlson’s “false flag” take on the deadly January 6 insurrection that many fear was dress rehearsal. Shep’ Smith was already long-gone – to anchor the hip, handsomely-produced 7:00 pm CNBC news hour – after being so-at-odds for-so-long with what FOX News entertainment shows were shoveling.
Pending Business: Tips for Getting Through Down Days. How are you feeling as we close out the 2021 sales calendar? Whether you are relieved, optimistic, defeated, encouraged, or discouraged, radio sales pro Steve Lapa offers some tips for getting through down days. Back in the 1970s, Lapa worked in Buffalo. Facing a bad economy, 23% unemployment, and 30-plus snow days per year, he learned a lot of lessons about getting through tough times. Check out his tips here.
Monday Memo: You Say It’s Your Birthday. With most radio broadcast hours now robotic, consultant Holland Cooke suggests “a simple, but very personal touch that will distinguish you to listeners (and advertisers).” Read it here.
Chris Wallace Leaves FOX News; Will Join CNN+. He didn’t tell his viewers where he was headed, but longtime “FOX News Sunday” host Chris Wallace bid his viewers adieu at the conclusion of yesterday’s program. He said, “After 18 years — this is my final ‘FOX News Sunday.’ It is the last time — and I say this with real sadness — we will meet like this. Eighteen years ago, the bosses here at FOX promised me they would never interfere with a guest I booked or a question I asked. And they kept that promise. I have been free to report to the best of my ability, to cover the stories I think are important, to hold our country’s leaders to account. It’s been a great ride. We’ve covered five presidential elections, interviewed every president since George H.W. Bush, travelled the world — sitting down with France’s Emanuel Macron and Russia’s Vladimir Putin. And I’ve gotten to spend Sunday mornings with you. It may sound corny, but I feel we’ve built a community here. There’s a lot you can do on Sunday mornings. The fact you’ve chosen to spend this hour with us is something I cherish. But after 18 years, I have decided to leave FOX. I want to try something new, to go beyond politics to all the things I’m interested in. I’m ready for a new adventure. And I hope you’ll check it out. And so —for the last time, dear friends — that’s it for today. Have a great week. And I hope you’ll keep watching FOX News Sunday.” Wallace will join CNN as an anchor for the new streaming service CNN+ that will debut in 2022. He’ll host a weekday show featuring interviews with newsmakers “across politics, business, sports and culture.” In a statement, Wallace adds, “I am thrilled to join CNN+. After decades in broadcast and cable news, I am excited to explore the world of streaming. I look forward to the new freedom and flexibility streaming affords in interviewing major figures across the news landscape — and finding new ways to tell stories.”
KYW, Philadelphia Presents Richard Monetti Scholarship to Newstudies Student. Philadelphia all-news KYW Newsradio held its 54th consecutive, annual Newstudies program that offered a diverse and talented group of high schoolers from around the Philadelphia region the opportunity to participate in the Audacy station’s one-of-a-kind program. Throughout the fall, students attended sessions where they learned the principles of broadcast journalism from industry professionals and produced their own news reports that aired on KYW. The program culminated Saturday (12/11) in a graduation ceremony at Temple University. Audacy Philly SVP and market manager David Yadgaroff says, “For decades, Newstudies has allowed our talented staff to share their expertise with the next generation of journalists. KYW Newsradio’s tradition of fair, credible, local journalism is a tremendous learning opportunity for these students, and we were thrilled to see and hear their passion.” Pictured above is Souderton Area High School student Sara Bishop (left) receiving the $2,000 Richard Monetti Scholarship from KYW brand manager Alex Silverman (right). The scholarship is named for a Newstudies graduate killed in the 1988 bombing of Pan Am Flight 103 and honors a student whose work demonstrates overall excellence.
Joe Madison on Day 36 of Hunger Strike for Voting Rights Legislation. Talk radio host Joe Madison – heard daily on SiriusXM’s Urban View channel – is on day 36 of his hunger strike to raise awareness for voting rights legislation that he says is necessary to combat the actions being taken in numerous states to restrict voting abilities. Madison says he’s going to post a photo to his Twitter account every week to show how his hunger strike is affecting his body. Madison says, “I’ve lost over 20 pounds on my #hungerstrike for voting rights. Starting today, I intend to take a photo every week while I continue to sacrifice my body for democracy.”
TALKERS News Notes. Next Monday (12/20), Edison Research will present its final webinar of the year that will feature its “Top 10 Findings of 2021.” At the 2:00 pm ET webinar Edison SVP Tom Webster and director of research Laura Ivey will host and will be joined by many of the researchers behind the studies to reveal “the most fascinating data from the past year.” You can register here…..The podcast docuseries, “We Interrupt This Broadcast: Before it Was History, it Was News” announces that it claims the #1 and most popular spot in the History category and has placed in the top 25 of all Apple Podcasts. MSNBC host Brian Williams, who signed off for the last time Thursday evening ending his 28-year career with the network, is the narrator and executive producer of the series. Williams says, “Podcasting allows us to get it right—we get to tell the story calmly and accurately. If we do it right, it will bring people as close as possible to the feeling of being as fortunate as we are to have this job.” Hosted by legendary broadcaster Bill Kurtis and narrated by Williams, ‘We Interrupt This Broadcast’ is a celebration of the art of journalism and the heroism of journalists who broke the news and reported the captivating details from the front lines of these iconic moments…..Yesterday (12/12), Red Apple Media’s WABC, New York honored Frank Sinatra on his birthday with a live broadcast from Hoboken, New Jersey where a statue of the late, great crooner was unveiled. Later that evening, Joe Piscopo hosted a special edition of his weekend Sinatra program on WABC that included members of Sinatra’s family and special guests.
WNYC Names Misdary Health and Science Reporter. Public media’s WNYC, New York announces that Rosemary Misdary is joining the organization full time as a health and science reporter on the community health and environment desk. Misdary, who worked as a civil engineer for a decade, was an intern at WNYC in 2019 and later covered the George Floyd protests as a weekend reporter. And for the last month, she’s been covering health stories, including how New Jersey hospitals are preparing for a winter COVID surge and the effort by NYC health experts to remove racially biased computer algorithms from patient treatment options. She was a 2020-2021 NPR Kroc Fellow, covering New York for the national desk and producing for “Weekend Edition.” She has also covered crime, courts, prisons and breaking news at New York Daily News and The New York Post.
COVID-19 Omicron Variant/Vaccines/Mandates, Deadly Tornadoes, Biden’s Build Back Better Plan, Russia’s Ukraine Aggression, January 6 Investigation, Jussie Smollett Guilty Verdict, and Author Anne Rice and Musician Mike Nesmith Die Among Top News/Talk Stories Over the Weekend. The rising number of COVID cases in the U.S.’ northern states, the Omicron variant, and mandates; the deadly tornadoes that killed more than 90 in Kentucky and Illinois; criticism of President Joe Biden’s Build Back Better spending plan; Russia is warned by G7 nations of consequences of invasion of Ukraine; the January 6 investigation and a judge’s ruling allowing some to be charged with felony obstruction; the aftermath of the Jussie Smollett guilty verdict; and the deaths of author Anne Rice and musician Mike Nesmith were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio over the weekend, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.
Legendary Radio Figure Al Herskovitz Dies at 90. One of the radio industry’s most-liked and enduring figures, Al Herskovitz, has passed way in Bradenton, FL on November 11 at the age of 90 after suffering an episode of cardiac arrest. Herskovitz was an alumnus of many top American radio stations and broadcast companies including: WPRO, Providence; WIP, Philadelphia; and WPOL-AM/FM, Los Angeles, as well as CapCities Communications among others where he served in program director and station manager capacities for a number of years. In early 1986, Herskovitz and Michael Harrison formed H&H Broadcasting, Inc. and acquired WSPR, Springfield, MA which they transitioned from an adult contemporary music format to a seminal spoken word approach they dubbed “Supertalk” – a precursor to the modern style of talk radio that boomed onto the scene during the 1990s. H&H owned and operated WSPR until late-1988. When TALKERS was launched in 1990, Herskovitz joined the company and served as its senior director of marketing until his recent retirement in 2019 at the age of 88. In the 2000 presidential election he served as the Steve Forbes campaign’s media advisor. Herskovitz was an active member, right until his passing, of the Sarasota, FL-based Media Round Table – a group of working, retired and semi-retired media professionals from around the country who currently live full- or part-time in Florida. Harrison states, “Al was like a brother to me and a rock in my life. He was a friend, a partner, and a mentor, not to mention one of the most dependable and decent human beings I could ever have been blessed to have as a close associate over the decades. Even into his late-80s, Al was sharp and energetic. He knew as much about the radio business and stayed abreast of the ever-changing technology of the digital era as if he were a bright millennial on the leading edge. He was, indeed, remarkable!” Herskovitz was born and raised in Bridgeport, CT – the son of hard working Jewish Hungarian immigrants, the late Leo and Elsie Herskovitz. He’s a veteran of the United States Army where he served and saw action in the Korean War. He is pre-deceased by his beloved wife of 53 years, Eileen Herskovitz who passed away in 2012. Herskovitz’s colorful career, spanning almost seven decades, brought him into contact with some of the world’s most colorful individuals in politics, show business, sports and business. These experiences are documented in a memoir titled, The Tall, Skinny Jewish Kid with Eyeglasses from Bridgeport: A Radio Guy’s Chance Encounters with the Colorful and Famous (Talkers Books, 2018). A graveside service will be held at Skyway Memorial Gardens, 5200 US Hwy 19 N, Palmetto, FL 34221 https://www.skywaymemorial.com/ at a date and time to be announced. Check the Skyway website or Talkers.com for further details.
NOW POSTED: This Weekend’s Installment of “The Michael Harrison Wrap: An Overview of the National Conversation.” The latest installment of the one-hour weekend special, “The Michael Harrison Wrap,” that looks back each week at the hottest topics discussed in American talk media per the research of TALKERS magazine, is now posted. This new episode titled, “Inflation Nation,” looks back at this past week of 11/8 – 11/12. The program features guests (in order of appearance): Kevin Casey, executive editor, TALKERS; Claire Carter, commentator, Good For You Radio/founder, Good For You Network; Richard Neer, talk show host, WFAN, New York; Steve Weisman, professor of law, Bentley University, Boston/founder, Scamicide.com; Joe Madison, talk show host, SiriusXM Satellite Radio; and Brian Kilmeade, talk show host, FOX News Radio/FOX News Channel. The show airs each week on its flagship, WONK-FM, Washington, DC, Friday evenings at 6:00 pm ET. It also airs throughout the weekend on WTIC, Hartford; KSCO, Santa Cruz, CA; KDFD, Denver; KFNX, Phoenix; KTLK-FM, St. Louis; WPG, Atlantic City, NJ; SuperTalk 99.7 WTN, Nashville; WVLY, Wheeling, WV; WTRW-FM, Scranton/Wilkes Barre, PA; WVOX, Westchester, NY; KBDT, Dallas; KQSP, Minneapolis; KBKW, Aberdeen, WA; WGDJ, Albany, NY; WJFN-FM, Richmond, VA; WZFG, Fargo; KTGO, Tioga, ND; KWAM, Memphis; K-NEWS, San Luis Obispo; WGMD, Rehoboth Beach, DE; WCHM, Clarkesville, GA; WPHM, Port Huron, MI; KSYL, Alexandria, LA; KTOE, Mankato, MN; WCED, DuBois, PA; K-NEWS 101.3, Owensboro, KY; WWTK, Sebring, FL; WSAR-AM/FM, Fall River, MA; WIZM-AM/FM, La Crosse, WI; WMVA, Martinsville, VA; KQEN, Roseburg, OR; the Virginia Talk Radio Network; CRN Digital Talk Radio Network; the iHeart Podcast Network; Pioneer Valley Radio, Springfield, MA; Podcast Radio, UK and many more. To listen to this week’s episode, please click here. To view the latest TALKERS magazine topic research, please click here. “The Michael Harrison Wrap” is now available in syndication via Talk Media Network to stations across America on a market exclusive basis. For affiliation information, please click here or call 616-884-8616.
WRKO, Boston Raises Almost $200K for Disabled American Veterans. Boston news/talk outlet WRKO-AM “The Voice of Boston” raised more than $192,000 during its sixth annual DAV Radiothon to benefit the Disabled American Veterans Department of Massachusetts. The iHeartMedia station held the 13-hour radiothon yesterday (11/11) and with WRKO personalities Jeff Kuhner, Barry Armstrong, and Howie Carr encouraging listeners to donate. Funds are designated for the DAV of Massachusetts’ homeless shelter and transportation programs. iHeartMedia Boston VP of news, talk, sports Rob Sanchez says, “It’s an honor for AM 680 WRKO to dedicate Veterans Day to help the men and women who have sacrificed so much for our great country. Our generous listeners always amaze me and have once again shown their support to raise $192,082 for the DAV of Massachusetts.” Since 2016, DAV Radiothon has raised over $800,000 to benefit veterans in the community.
NPR and Edison Research Spoken Word Audio Report Indicates Young, Multicultural Listeners Drive Consumption While Mobile Listening and Podcasts Add to Increases. The results of the NPR and Edison Research 2021 Spoken Word Audio Report – based on a national online survey of 1,000 adults 18 and over who listened to spoken word audio in the last month – reveals “the continued increased consumption of spoken word audio in the U.S. and the drivers behind the growth.” The report finds 75% of those in the U.S 13+ (212 million people) are monthly spoken word audio listeners, and 45% (127 million people) are daily spoken word audio listeners. Spoken word audio listening is up 40% in the past seven years, and up 8% year over year, with the share of time spent listening to spoken word audio reaching 28% of time spent with all audio. A look at a seven-year trend shows dramatic increases among young and multicultural listeners. The study shows 26% of 13-34-year-olds’ audio time is spent with spoken word audio, an increase of 116% over 2014. Similar increases are noted among multicultural listeners: Black listeners spend 22% of their audio time with spoken word (an 83% increase over 2014); Hispanic/Latino listeners spend 27% of their audio time with spoken word (an 80% increase over 2014); and White listeners now spend 29% of their audio time with spoken word, a 26% increase over 2014. Digital listening is also changing the spoken-word audio landscape. Mobile listening has increased 278% over the past seven years, with one-third (34%) of all time spent listening to spoken word audio being done on a mobile device. The increase in consumption on a mobile device holds for all ages, not just younger demos. Of all spoken word audio consumed by those 13+, 22% of it is to podcasts, a 176% increase over seven years ago (8%). You can find out more about the study here.
Season Two of ‘We Interrupt This Broadcast’ to Debut on November 22. The podcast docuseries “We Interrupt This Broadcast” is back for season two with episodes beginning streaming on November 22. Together, season one’s “JFK Assassination” episode and season two’s “The Killing of Lee Harvey Oswald” episode commemorate the November 22 and 24 anniversaries of these historic events, revealing never-before-heard audio and revelations from broadcasters and journalists who were covering these events in real time. Listeners are enlightened with impactful details that did not previously make the airwaves or subsequent historical accounts. The series is hosted by legendary broadcaster Bill Kurtis and narrated by Brian Williams and is “a celebration of the art of journalism and the heroism of journalists who broke the news and reported the captivating details from the front lines of these iconic moments.” Season Two episodes include interviews and thrilling new details by broadcasters, TV journalists and historians who were entrenched in these notable moments: Oswald Assassination; Watergate: Nixon Resigns; Challenger Explosion; Rescue of Baby Jessica; The OJ Simpson Slow Speed Chase; The Oklahoma City Bombing; Y2K; Hurricane Katrina Slams New Orleans; Election Night 2016; and War of the Worlds – The Original ‘Deep Fake’, which recently began streaming on its historic anniversary. Brian Williams says, “Podcasting allows us to get it right – we get to tell the story calmly and accurately. If we do it right, it will bring people as close as possible to the feeling of being as fortunate as we are to have this job. It’s been a tremendous privilege and honor to live through breaking stories as they are happening, right alongside our viewers. Listening to ‘We Interrupt This Broadcast,’ you’re going to feel that same tension, excitement, mystery, and urgency that we felt in the moment as we broadcasted.” The docuseries is produced by i4 Media Ventures, LLC and is repped for ad and sponsorship sales by New York and Los Angeles-based Crossover Media Group Sales.
TALKERS News Notes. A three-hour special Thanksgiving program from CBS Audio hosted by Gil Gross is available for air Wednesday November 24 – Sunday November 28. The show consists of three hours of bright and informative conversation about America’s most beloved holiday, including: culinary “horror” stories of Thanksgiving dinners gone wrong; the harrowing story of Squanto, the Native American credited with saving the Pilgrims and inaugurating the American Thanksgiving; how a train with 260 tons of frozen turkeys brought about the creation of the frozen TV dinner; bringing back vintage Thanksgiving recipes and creating innovations in the traditional Thanksgiving meal; and how Thanksgiving and football became married family traditions…..Boston public media outlet GBH names Paris Alston and Jeremy Siegel the new co-hosts of “Morning Edition” at GBH News. Alston rejoins GBH from WBUR, where she is a host of the NPR podcast, “Consider This,” produced in conjunction with GBH. Siegel is currently the host and producer of the Washington, DC-based daily news podcast “POLITICO Dispatch.” GBH general manager of news Pam Johnston says, “Our audiences have told us that mornings matter most when it comes to news. They look to us to get the information they need and set the tone for the day ahead. With Paris and Jeremy as co-hosts of ‘Morning Edition’ at GBH News, our audiences will get local stories from different perspectives. They’ll engage with a pair of dynamic, smart and accomplished journalists who possess a real knack for understanding and dissecting the complex stories of our time.”
Inflation, Supply Chain and Economic Politics Top News/Talk Story for Week of 11/8-12. Soaring consumer goods and fuel prices, the supply chain breakdown, labor woes, and economic politics combined as the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio this week, landing atop the Talkers TenTM. At #2 this week was COVID-19 vaccines and mandates, the Aaron Rodgers controversy, and school board battles, followed by the January 6 investigation tied with social media & journalism at #3. The Talkers TenTM is a weekly chart of the top stories and people discussed on news/talk radio during the week and is the result of ongoing research from TALKERS magazine. It is published every Friday at Talkers.com. See this week’s complete chart here.